Christiana Reinertsen’s magical run through Huntington High School is nearing an end. The senior will graduate next month, but she will always remember the classmates and teachers she’s been with these past four years.
Ms. Reinertsen is headed to the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. “I originally had been looking at big southern schools with a huge sports life and lots of students,” she said. That all changed when she spent time at Scranton.
“When I visited Scranton’s campus I was immediately amazed by their small school feel and widely recognized nursing program,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “By that time I’d been to quite a few schools and seen many labs and program designs, but at Scranton it was an entirely different feeling. Instead of only learning how to practice medicine, their nursing program advocates for the care of patients and families as if they were your own, which is really why I want to become a nurse. I knew in my heart that Scranton was the place for me, but being that their program is very selective, I was very nervous to get too attached. However, once I received my answer in February, I was overjoyed to accept a spot in their program.”
The teenager has been immersed in her classes along with activities that include the Highsteppers competitive dance team, National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, the chamber choir and its executive board, Relay For Life, varsity track and field and Habitat for Humanity.
Ms. Reinertsen has been a leader, too, serving as co-captain of the Highsteppers and the marching band’s color guard, treasurer of Tri-M, vice president of the chamber choir board, president of Habitat for Humanity and co-president of the Relay For Life planning committee.
“Extracurricular activities have been a huge part of my time at Huntington High school and through them I’ve found the best friends I’ve ever had,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “I thoroughly believe that because I was doing what I loved, I was able to befriend people who loved that particular activity just as much as me.”
A student in the Huntington School District since kindergarten, Ms. Reinertsen has always been held in high esteem by faculty members and classmates. These past four years have been especially rewarding for her.
“It’s almost impossible to sum up the best things about our school, but I can certainly say that it’s a place where anyone can feel comfortable,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “If you are more artistically inclined, the arts department is full of endless opportunities to create and explore, and of course, make friends. The athletic department is phenomenal and some of my friends have spent their entire high school careers flourishing on sports teams. Our academics are led by people who love to learn and teach, and above all, are full of people who love to be teachers. Essentially, regardless of the ‘kind of person’ someone may think they are, there is always a place at our school that they are more than welcome in.”
Ms. Reinertsen will never forget Huntington and the people she’s been in the high school with these past four years will never forget her either.
Can’t Pinpoint a Faculty Favorite
Huntington senior Christiana Reinertsen.
“I never like to declare favorites and there’s no way I can pinpoint one or two particular faculty members for being a favorite in my high school career,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “However, there are people that I am eternally grateful for meeting and they include Mr. [Robert] Gilmor, Mr. [Joseph] Cohen, Mr. [Jamie] Fishlow, Mr. [Paul] Caleca, Ms. Youlanda Carey, Mr. [David] Moriarty, Ms. [Veronica] Mainville and Mrs. [Kelly] Krycinski. All of these people have impacted me in such a positive way, and have helped me pursue the things I love.”
Ms. Reinertsen has built strong relationships with her teachers and the high school support staff. “Mr. Cohen and Mr. Gilmor are the faculty advisors for two of my favorite activities; Relay For Life and Habitat for Humanity and have helped me to find the things in life that I really love to do,” she said. “Though I really only befriended Ms. Youlanda this year through Habitat, I could not be happier that I finally did. She is warm, gracious and hilarious, all on top of being one of the most determined people I have ever known.”
Regardless of the subject area, Ms. Reinertsen has found at least one teacher she connected with in a special way. “Both Mr. Fishlow and Mr. Moriarty are teachers that I have only just met this year, but are people that without which my time in this school would’ve been completely different,” she said. “Ms. Mainville has been the ever-present happy teacher throughout high school, as I’ve had her every year since ninth grade. Her door is always open; she strives to help students find the best in themselves and she is always there when you need her.”
Mrs. Krycinski has also been a key figure in Ms. Reinertsen’s time at Huntington High School. “She has helped me in every conceivable way and having her both freshman and senior year has been the perfect way to end high school,” the teenager said. “Last but not least, Mr. Caleca may seem only like a tough guy on the outside, but this year I was lucky enough to have found a great friend in him. He cares about every student individually and truly wants the best for each and every one of them. These teachers are all much more to me than just teachers and I know that I could not have gotten to the place I am without them. They are all very special people.”
“Favorite Moments” Include Eli’s Day
Some of Ms. Reinertsen’s “favorite moments” include Eli Mollineaux’s Day during a football game last fall and the celebration of his life during a November pep rally at which Russell Athletic announced the donation of $50,000 worth of sports apparel as a tribute to the special teenager.
“Anytime our school is together in a positive way always reminds me of how great of a community we have,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “Of course, I loved every homecoming pep rally, parade and game being that I had the privilege of performing every year with the Highsteppers. Relay For Life has been the highlight of every year since eighth grade for me and I know that my last one at Huntington this June will be very special.”
Ms. Reinertsen has participated in several privately funded EF Tours trips led by social studies teacher Camille Tedeschi and chaperoned by other Huntington teachers. “Ms. Tedeschi has been a great travel leader on two trips for me to Peru and Ecuador and the Galápagos islands,” the senior said. “Both of these trips have been extremely eye opening for me and I made amazing memories that I’ll look back on forever.”
The teenager has traveled two times to New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity during vacation weeks. “On both trips I was accompanied by Mr. Gilmor and Ms. Youlanda, as well as fantastic students,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “Both times we were able to explore the area, help in the building of houses and learn how we can help in the rebuilding of a community after a natural disaster. Without these experiences, my high school experience would have been much different.”
As her time in high school enters its final month, Ms. Reinertsen has grown reflective. “Looking back at my time in Huntington, I’m glad to say that I couldn’t be happier with my experience,” she said. “Between making the friends I have, taking part in clubs and activities and learning everything I have, I can proudly say that I’ve enjoyed every moment. From traveling with teachers, singing in the honors choir, taking advanced art classes and learning all that I could, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
A disciplined student with a positive attitude toward school and her responsibilities, Ms. Reinertsen will be missed when September rolls around for the start of a new school year.
“For incoming freshmen, aside from ‘cherish every moment.’ I think it is important to know that the easiest thing to do is to be kind,” Ms. Reinertsen said. “Smile at someone you may not know too well in the hallway, compliment someone on their outfit if you like it and always help a friend in need. Being kind to others is the quickest way to make a friend and will make you feel happy in return. Lastly, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity our school has to offer, and try to appreciate how special Huntington really is!”